20 hours fasted – torture or liberating?
I have a fair portion of experience with intermittent fasting. I’ve written about intermittent fasting before. Most of you know there are a plethora of ways to structure an IF protocol. You can go 16 hours fasted, 8 fed. You can do 14 hours fasted, 10 fed. You can rock 18 hours fasted, 6 fed and you could go one step further and tackle a mammoth 20 hours fasted and yep, 4 hours fed.
Incidentally, I used to go anywhere between 14 and 16 hours in the fasted state back when I vigorously exercised the concept that is intermittent fasting. But I’d never threat if I didn’t find myself exactly in that window. There was no guilt if I only managed to last 13 hours and 50 minutes without food. I didn’t start begging for divine intervention if I went 17 or 18 hours without food.
One thing I never managed, or even really tried to do, was fast 20 hours or more. The 20 hour mark is definitely an aggressive form of ‘IF’. Ori Hofmekler’s book, The Warrior Diet exploits the 20/4 protocol and has been used wonderfully by those looking to strip their fat jackets.
Today though, as I write this, that’s all changed. I fasted for a whopping 20.5 hours! Why you ask? Simply because I wanted to. I didn’t feel brilliant last night and have been eating quite recklessly (by my standards) recently, so this was my way of ‘taking a break’. I just didn’t feel hungry upon rising and had things to do and places to be.
I actually felt great. I didn’t start out with any intentions in mind, I just went about my business and surpassed the 16 hour mark by default and had no access to food by the 18 hour mark. When I did have the opportunity to eat I was 18.5 hours in and thought…….why don’t I push for the big 20? I’d never done it before.
We don’t do that enough. We don’t appreciate times where opportunity lies. It’s all about mindset. Do you say, “I’m hungry and need to eat”, or do you say, “this is a chance to exceed my personal best – to do something I’ve not done before – what could it teach me?”
The experience was very liberating. No obsessing over food. No worrying about imaginary muscle loss, and best of all, getting comfortable being a little uncomfortable.
Will I do 20 hour fasts everyday? No. My lifestyle and activity levels don’t really permit it. I fast a MINIMUM of 12 hours overnight anyway, usually 14. I really do think there’s some truth to the hype about fasting triggering a repair and recovery process. Whenever I go beyond a certain time period, I feel better. Sharper. More alive. Free. Focused. Driven. Happy. Inspired.
It’s also worth noting I am still every bit caffeine free (read all about my caffeine free journey here) and when I used to intermittent fast, I would have my black coffee as an ally. I flew solo today though and survived just fine.
Going against the grain never hurts. 8 meals per day every 2 hours? No thanks, I have shit to do.
JR @ Straight-Talking-Fitness View All
The 'brains' behind StraightTalkingFitness, a site all about discovery that leads to strength in all formats; fitness, mental, emotional and spiritual. Everything starts from within and projects outwards. Master the body, master anything and everything.
I agree. I have been doing 18-6 for the last 5 days and feel that I have reached a plateau and have gone back to a normal eating pattern for a while until I feel I need another reset. I am thinking that I may resume just doing it 2 days per week eventually. This gives me for flexibility by just doing the fast on the weekends.
Yes, I think cyclical fasting is probably the best of both worlds – it’s more ‘schedule friendly’ too. I’ve never done the once a week, Brad Pilon style, 24 hour fast yet though. It may be something I try in the future.